First
Date: 7:45 p.m. March 23, 2013
Venue: Finn Park
Att: 723

Kevin McHugh 22' -
Scored: 22'



Finn Harps -v- Longford Town

Sat, Mar 23 2013

It is an early top of the table clash on Saturday evening (7.45pm kick-off) with second placed Finn Harps welcoming table toppers Longford Town to Finn Park.


FINN HARPS

Peter Hutton’s side sit two points behind Town in the table having drawn their opening game of the season in Waterford before winning impressively 4-1 at home against Cobh Ramblers last week.

 

“I was delighted to get the three points and start off our season at home with a positive result and overall a decent performance,” said Harps boss Peter Hutton about the win over Ramblers.

 

“I thought the team worked extremely hard and competed well against a good Cobh side.  First half we started very bright and soared into an early two goal lead but then conceded a sloppy goal to allow Cobh back into the game. We responded really well though. Second half I thought we were very good and dominated and should have won more comfortably but I was happy to get the season up and running.”

 

The Harps boss is aware of the challenge ahead of them on Saturday against Longford many peoples’ favourites to win the First Division.  “I attended their recent game against Waterford and was impressed by how they responded after going a goal behind to come back to win the game which showed good character.  

 

“Longford have recruited well in the off season bringing in players such as Corrie Treacy, Willie Tyrell, Brian McCarthy and goalkeeper Chris Bennion to strengthen their defensive options. They have gathered a formidable squad and don’t hide the fact that anything less than promotion will be seen as a poor season.  In saying that though we ourselves are focused on our own game and will hope to build on the good start to the season we’ve had.”

 

Including the EA Sports Cup game against the Mayo League, Harps have scored six second half goals in the three games so far this season – although they may miss Sean McCarron their top scorer with three goals due to injury. Hutton said that his side’s hard pre-season work is paying off.

 

“In both games, firstly against Waterford and then last week against Cobh I thought our second half performances were very good. I believe that is a testament to the players’ fitness levels and the benefits of their hard work and commitment thus far.”

 

LONGFORD TOWN

Tony Cousins’ men travel to Donegal for the clash with Finn Harps full of confidence that comes from winning all three competitive games so far this season. Having won 5-0 on the opening night of the campaign against Salthill Devon, the Town followed it up with a 2-0 win over Athlone Town in the EA Sports Cup and then a 2-1 win over Waterford United last week.


Home debutants David O’Sullivan and 21-year-old Michael Isciheli were both on target in the first half in last week’s win over Waterford and will be hoping that they can get on the score sheet in Saturday’s match that is a game between the top two teams in the First Division. Town came from behind after conceding a 13th minute goal against United before turning things around to lead at the break. O’Sullivan, the FAI Intermediate Player of the Year, is in good goalscoring form since stepping up to the Airtricity League. He netted a hat-trick on the opening night of the season in Town’s 5-0 demolition of Sathill Devon in addition to the winner against Waterford.

 

Josh O’Hanlon is expected to return to the team having been an unused substitute in last week’s win and the 17 year old may look to exploit the changes in the Harps team brought about by defender Thomas McBride’s suspension. O’Hanlon has already got two goals to his name so far this season having scored in the win over Devon at the start of the month and in the EA Sports Cup win away to Athlone.

 

Referee: Ray Harvey.

 

 

MATCH STATS

Shaun McGowan is set to make his 200th appearance for Finn Harps this evening.

 

Longford Town have won just eight of their 38 visits to Finn Park since the teams first met in 1982 – however, four of those victories have come in their last five trips to Ballybofey.   

 

The last time the sides met, which was in the final game of last season, Harps emerged 1-0 victors over Town thanks to Kevin McHugh’s solitary goal.

 

 

BETTING

Finn Harps 8/5; Draw 11/5; Longford Town 6/4.

 

PREDICTION

Draw; 2-2.

 

 

Finn Harps

Injured: Ciaran Coll (cartilage tear).
Doubtful: Sean McCarron (ankle) and Paul McVeigh (stomach bug).
Suspended: Thomas McBride. 

 

Longford Town

Injured: None.
Doubtful: Gary Shaw.
Suspended: None.

 


Finn Harps
Ciaran Gallagher
Goalkeeper
Damien McNulty
Defender
Thomas McMonagle
Defender
Matthew Crossan
65Booked: 65'
Defender
Keith Cowan
46Booked: 46'
Defender
Aaron O'Hagan
79'
79Subbed Off: 79'
Midfielder
Shaun McGowan
86Booked: 86'
Midfielder
Michael Funston
72Booked: 72'
Midfielder
Marc Brolly
80'
80Subbed Off: 80'
Midfielder
Kevin McHugh
22Scored: 22'
70Booked: 70'
Forward
Sean McCarron
90Booked: 90'
Forward

Substitutes
Paul McVeigh
80'
80Subbed On: 80'
Forward
Mark Forker
Midfield
Michael Doherty
Midfield
James Doherty
Defender
Jonny Bonner
Midfield
Thomas Bonner
79'
79Subbed On: 79'
Midfield
Shaun Patton
Goalkeeper
Longford Town
Chris Bennion
Goalkeeper
Willie Tyrell
Defender
54Booked: 54'
William McDonagh
Defender
Brian McCarthy
Defender
86Booked: 86'
Noel Haverty
Defender 5'
5Subbed Off: 5'
Mark Salmon
Midfielder
Daniel Purdy
Midfielder 79'
79Subbed Off: 79'
Colm James
Midfielder
Keith Gillespie
Midfielder
58Booked: 58'
David O'Sullivan
Forward
Michael Isichei
Forward 14'
14Subbed Off: 14'

Substitutes
David O'Neill
Midfield
79Subbed On: 79'
79'
Josh O'Hanlon
Forward
14Subbed On: 14'
14'
Etanda Nkololo
Forward
5Subbed On: 5'
5'
Paul Hunt
Goalkeeper
Gavin Doyle
Forward
Chris Deans
Defender
Gary Cronin
Manager